Colonsay Book Festival 2020 line-up announced

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The Colonsay Book Festival is delighted to announce the line-up for its 2020 festival.

The award-winning writers and authors appearing at this ‘wee gem of a festival on a jewel of an island’, which takes place on April 25 and 26, are confirmed as: Catherine Brown, John D Burns, Karen Campbell, Martin Edwards, Andrew O’Hagan and Robin Robertson.

Now in its ninth year, this annual Hebridean literary celebration has carved a unique niche in Scotland’s ever-expanding book festival calendar since its launch in 2012.

The two-day event – dubbed a “literary lock-in” – is conceived and produced entirely by the island’s residents and has previously featured such distinguished writers, poets and authors as Val McDermid, Andrew Greig, Mhairi Hedderwick, AL Kennedy, Jackie Kay, Janice Galloway, Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Liz Lochhead, to name but a few.

Further details of the 2020 programme will be released in late January, but tickets for what promises to be an engaging and thought-provoking weekend are now on sale.

Richard Irvine, co-director of the event, said: ‘As one of – if not the – most remote book festivals in the world, we’re delighted this year to have been able to attract such a strong and diverse line-up of authors.

‘Colonsay is such an unspoilt special place, it’s the perfect setting to meet and mingle with some of the country’s leading writers and hear and talk about life and literature. Whether at the event itself, in the pub afterwards, or walking on one of its unspoilt beaches. It’s a hugely enjoyable event for visitors, authors and locals alike.

‘Tickets are on sale now, with a special early bird rate available until the end of January 2020. You can keep up to date with all our news on our website – – and via Twitter and Facebook.’


The authors

Andrew O’Hagan

Andrew O’Hagan grew up in Ayrshire and has published eight books. He won the Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction, has written well-known reportage from around the world, has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and is Editor at Large of the London Review of Books and of Esquire Magazine. His plays have been produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and his latest novel, Mayflies, will be published by Faber & Faber in 2020.

Catherine Brown

Catherine Brown became widely known during the 1980s and 90s for her investigative food columns in The Herald (Glasgow) and as a presenter of STV and Grampian TV’s Scotland’s Larder. In 2001 she was the Guild of Food Writers’ Food Journalist of the Year. She is the author of several books on Scottish food, including her acclaimed Scottish Cookery.

John D Burns

Originally from Merseyside, John D Burns moved to Inverness over thirty years ago to follow his passion for the hills. For over 40 years he has walked and climbed the hills of Scotland whilst also making occasional trips to more exotic locations like the Alps, the Pyrenes and the Canadian Rockies. He began writing almost 15 years ago, and at first found an outlet for his creativity as a performance poet. His most recent books include The Last Hillwalker and Bothy Tales which take a sideways look at walking Britains mountains.

Martin Edwards

In addition to being an award-winning crime writer himself, Martin Edwards is internationally recognised as an expert on crime fiction, and is the author of The Golden Age of Murder, a ground-breaking study of classic detective stories written between the wars. The book has won the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating, and Macavity awards for the best non-fiction book of the year.

Karen Campbell

Scottish writer Karen Campbell is the author of seven novels, most recently The Sound of the Hours, Rise and This is Where I Am, all published by Bloomsbury Circus. Her previous books include The Twilight Time, After the Fire, Shadowplay and Proof of Life – all Hodder & Stoughton. A graduate of Glasgow University’s Creative Writing Masters, Karen also teaches creative writing and carries out freelance communications training.

Robin Robertson 

Robin is from the north-east coast of Scotland. He has published six books of poetry, most recently The Long Take, which won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction, the Goldsmiths Prize for innovative fiction and was the first narrative poem to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The film rights to The Long Take have just been sold.